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Large licensing schemes for rented sector to require ministerial approval: Lewis

Any council looking to introduce a licensing scheme covering more than 20% of their area, or 20% of local privately rented homes, will need to obtain permission from the Communities Secretary, the Housing Minister has said.

Brandon Lewis said that all applications for schemes above that threshold would be assessed on a case-by-case basis, balancing the interests and views of all parties.

Lewis insisted that the new rules would also give councils “more freedom” to introduce licensing in specific neighbourhoods within their boundaries, and particularly those with poor quality accommodation, deprivation and high levels of crime.

The Housing Minister said: “The vast majority of private landlords offer a decent service – so I’m determined we end the ‘tenants tax’ caused by draconian measures that do nothing to tackle rogue operators and only serve to push up rents.

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“I want councils to take targeted action and focus their efforts on tackling that small number of landlords who make their tenants’ lives a misery – and help create a bigger, better private rented sector as a result.”

Regulations for the proposals are currently before Parliament.

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